A bus filled with outdoor adventurers left the Yellowhead Costco for Base Camp 2018, on Saturday, July 14, and headed to Athabasca for an overnight stay at All Saints’ Anglican church hall. Camp theme this year was based on the film A Series of Unfortunate Events. And so, once arrived at Athabasca, campers were informed they were all Beaudelaire orphans, being given into the care of Count Olaf. ; )
Sunday we were served breakfast by members of All Saints’, who were gracious hosts, and attended worship where we were invited to sing songs. We then joined in the church’s community lunch before completing the final leg of our journey to Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. We were joined by two more campers, bringing our total to 24, including 10 returning campers.
Eight volunteer staff and one furry, white, four-legged companion, Rufus, helped get the week off to a good start. By the end of the week we had ten staff as the Rev. Jon Crane, who began the week as chaplain, later passed the reins to the Rev. Heather Liddell, who arrived with reinforcements mid-week. Wholesome meals were provided by camp cook Susan Daniel who arrived with a week’s supply of home baked muffins, cookies, and cinnamon twists.
The days were filled with worship, arts and crafts including soap carving, making eating utensils, telescopes and memory books; outdoor challenges such as fire building, canoeing/kayaking, and hiking. We even had a special visit from John the Baptist during worship Monday morning.
Evening activities included some wide games and campfires. The campers cooked bannock over the fire one night, s’mores another. Mug-up was followed by compline and then bed.
On Wednesday morning the campers took a tour of the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory. We measured our wingspans against local flyers (golden eagles, bald eagle, blue herons, herring gulls, and several swans), tried to pick out others with the same ‘bird’ call, and tried out binoculars. In the banding lab one group saw three birds (including two white-throated sparrows) being measured, banded, weighed and released. We had a wonderful time picnicking and swimming at the soft shore of Devonshire Beach before leaving the birding area and hiking, amidst the rain and mosquitoes, back to camp.
On Thursday we paddled from the mouth of Marten River to the north end of Marten River Beach, where we had a picnic lunch, swam, dug holes in the sand, sun bathed, and splashed in the lake (there may have been some front and back flips too!)
On the way back we paddled part way up the river, then started getting ready for the end of camp.
We celebrated the eucharist Friday morning, where Ian Bowden played an inspired Gospel song, with a synopsis of Mark, set to the theme song of A Series of Unfortunate Events. We stopped for a pizza lunch in Slave Lake and then made our way back to Edmonton through hail and torrential rain, where we hastily unloaded the campers, all smelling of wood-smoke, and reunited them with their (thankfully still alive!) parents.
Sumbitted by Camp Director, Dr. Mark Armstrong